Minister faces new sexual assault claim

Minister faces new sexual assault claim

Attorney general instructs police to continue probe of Silvan Shalom as another woman emerges

Silvan Shalom, March 12, 2014. (Flash 90)
Silvan Shalom, March 12, 2014. (Flash 90)

Police are investigating a new incident of possible sexual misconduct by Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, Channel 2 reported Friday night.

According to the report, a woman who case has not yet been looked into may have been harassed by the minister in the past. These new suspicions led Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday to instruct police officials to continue their investigation of Shalom, despite their previous recommendation to close the case due to lack of evidence.

Shalom was previously considered a leading candidate for president; a successor is to be chosen next month as Shimon Peres’s term comes to an end in July. It is now widely expected that Shalom will withdraw his candidacy in light of the allegations against him.

The minister was questioned by police in late March after a former employee alleged that he sexually assaulted her 15 years ago. Both the police and the State Prosecution sought to reinforce the allegations with additional complaints from other women, without which further action was problematic due to the statute of limitations. A second possible victim was later found, but she adamantly refused to lodge a complaint.

Sources close to Shalom have denied the allegations vehemently, saying he did not even know the woman in question.

Some sources suggested the allegations were a smear campaign related to the presidential race.

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